Arizona Law is a Reminder to Follow Best Practices

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A new Arizona law has caused significant debate and brought to the forefront the issue of illegal immigration and the employment of illegal aliens. The law, signed into effect on April 22 by Governor Jan Brewer, makes it a crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork. The law states that if police have a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is here illegally, they can stop him/her and ask for immigration paperwork. The legislation also bars people from soliciting work or hiring day laborers off the street.

Arizona, which has some of the harshest immigration laws in the country, passed a law in 2007 that imposed serious consequences on businesses that knowingly and intentionally hire undocumented workers. At the first offense, a business can lose its license for up to 10 days or at least 10 days (depending on if it was intentional or knowing) and require the business to be on probation for up to 3 years. If the business re-offends during the probation period, the business can have its business license permanently revoked and can be ordered to shut down completely. Minnesota has no similar law.

Politics aside, the law serves as a reminder that employers need to pay attention to complying with employment eligibility verification requirements, which include examination of identity documents and completion of Form I-9 for every employee hired. Employers must retain all I-9s and, with three day’s advance notice, the forms must be made available for inspection by DHS. Employment includes any service or labor performed for any type of remuneration within the United States. Federal law prohibits an employer from hiring an individual if the employer has reason to know that the person is not authorized to work in the United States. It is also unlawful to continue to employ an alien knowing that he/she is unauthorized to work. 


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